Festive seasons are great opportunities for connections and to introduce your culture to your family
It is 4 weeks to Christmas, and I hear people dreading this time of the year. They will complain that it is the most hectic time, and they are swamped with engagements. And some families will be hosting family gatherings, thus the planning will normally start a few weeks before the event.
I remember when I was still in Malaysia, every weekend for about eight weeks our kitchen would be buzzing with relatives, busy preparing the new year cookies, and would be visiting relatives and distributing the goodies to them closer to the New Year.
It was a very busy time of the year; yet right now, it brought back fond memories of family members being together, cooking, communicating and sharing the moment together.
However right now, you may be living far away from your home town, or your parents or elderly relatives are not around anymore. There is still every reason to introduce some of your childhood fond memories to your children. Allow them to experience your childhood, your culture, your traditions.
How do you connect with your children through your culture?
Make traditional cookies/dishes with them – Food is a tool for introducing your culture and values, especially to the younger generation. Show them the meaning of a particular dish. Introduce the ingredients and how the dish was prepared.and for which occasion.
Involve them – and invite them to help you to:
- Plan the menu, such as what dishes to serve and how many dishes you would like to prepare
- Create shopping lists – check the pantry for ingredients and list down what is needed
- Help to plan the guest list and seating arrangements.
Guest arrangements – This is a HUGE job if you are the host during the festive season. Our grandparents lived with us, so during Chinese New Year, we would be the host for the interstate and overseas guests. As a child I knew exactly what to expect and the arrangements that were needed.
So if you have the honour of hosting the festive gathering, it is a great opportunity to get everyone involved and allow creativity to flow:
- Make a list of who may be coming.
- Who will be occupying which room – get your kids' input and feedback?
- Do you have enough mattresses and pillows; if not, what do you need to do?
- When do you need to organise all of these by?
- How many people need to help with this responsibility?
The benefits of getting your kids involved in family projects are:
- It is a great opportunity to connect, and share those experiences together.
- It gives you and your family the opportunity to open up to communication, i.e. discussions, exchanging ideas, etc.
- Your children love to help and be involved. They will feel important, useful and feel satisfied by contributing and making a difference.
Festivity is meant to bring relatives and friends together, to share, connect, have fun, while sharing your culture and traditions together.